Further removed from a June 2017 shoulder operation, Julio Urias is hoping to give the Los Angeles Dodgers reason to pause when taking into account their starting pitching depth. Utilized as a relief pitcher late last season, Urias is being built up like a starter this spring.
He made his 2019 debut in impressive fashion against the Oakland Athletics, capping off a perfect inning with a strike out of Matt Chapman. “He was really sharp,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“He has been sharp all spring. Fastball 94-97 (mph), loved the at-bat against Chapman right there. He’s just sharp, he’s focused. Like I said before, he looks great. He’s determined, so today was a really good outing. He’ll take a couple days off, throw a ‘pen and he’s on that starter rotation so we’ll see him again in five days.”
Roberts previously marveled at the maturity and growth Urias has shown thus far in Spring Training. The 22-year-old attributed some of that to a focused offseason full of workouts.
“I worked really hard during the offseason, whether it was pitching or with the pitches and physically,” Urias said. It’s a good thing that things have been working out. I mentioned at the beginning of Spring Training that I took this offseason as if it was a normal offseason so it would help me come in and do good.
“You got to come into Spring Training prepared and it’s part of the experience and I’m also getting a little older.”
Clayton Kershaw’s health permitting, the Dodgers’ Opening Day rotation is all but set. Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill round out the group, though Urias wants to at least be part of the discussion.
“You’re here, you’re trying to win a spot and you’re not trying to wish something bad on anyone else, you’re just trying to win the spot by yourself and try to get in the rotation that way,” he said. “I’m here and I’m going to try my best to do that.
“Whatever opportunity they give you that’s always a way to show them what you can do and you have to take advantage of that and continue to put in the work.”
Whatever role the Dodgers ask Urias to fill this season, it figures to come under an innings limit.